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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Indian government reshuffled
Yashwant Sinha (left) and Jaswant Singh
Finance and foreign ministers are to swap jobs
The Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has carried out a major reshuffle of his cabinet in an attempt to revamp the government's image.


Shifting me to foreign ministry is not a comment on my work

Yashwant Sinha
The major change is the moving of Yashwant Sinha from the finance ministry, where he had faced criticism over his performance.

He swaps places with Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh.

The other main development - announced a day before the reshuffle - is the creation of the post of deputy prime minister to be filled by known hardliner LK Advani.

In total, 13 new ministers and junior ministers have been brought in to the BJP-led government as Mr Vajpayee seeks ways to boost its mid-term popularity.

New faces

Yashwant Sinha said his move to the foreign ministry was not a comment on his performance.

Mr Sinha has faced increasing criticism for failing to promote economic reforms to the electorate.

New appointments
Deputy PM:
LK Advani
Foreign:
Yashwant Sinha
Finance:
Jaswant Singh
Law:
J Krishnmamurthy
Labour:
Sahib Singh Verma
Health:
Shatrughan Sinha
Heavy industry:
Balasaheb Vikhe Patil

Four new ministers - drawn from the prime minister's own BJP party and from the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena - have also been brought in to government.

For the first time, two former Bollywood stars have found a place in government - Shatrughan Sinha in the cabinet and Vinod Khanna as a junior minister.

The new cabinet includes the former BJP president Jana Krisnamurthy, who has been replaced by Venkaiah Naidu .

The appointment of 53-year-old Mr Naidu is seen as part of a move to replace older party leaders with young blood.

The outgoing BJP president was 72.

It comes after the BJP suffered reverses in crucial state elections earlier this year.

More state elections are due next year and analysts believe the BJP wants to improve its image and retain its hold among traditional supporters.

Hindu agenda

The new deputy premier, Mr Advani, is associated with a more aggressive right wing and pro-Hindu agenda.

Home Minister LK Advani
LK Advani: Popular with Hindu nationalists
The BJP's move to the right comes despite widespread criticism of the party following large scale religious violence in the western state of Gujarat earlier this year.

Correspondents say that some in the BJP are dissatisfied with the more moderate leadership represented by the prime minister - and feel his style of consensual politics has led to a decline in popularity among the party's traditional supporters.

The BJP lost control of several states including Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous and politically significant state, in February's polls.

The party currently rules only four of the country's 29 states.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jill McGivering
"A straight swap for finance and foreign ministers"
Indian Express Editor Shekhar Gupta
"I think the changes are a bit pointless"
The BBC's Matt Prodger
"Smiles all round for the Advani family"
See also:

01 Jul 02 | South Asia
03 Jun 02 | South Asia
28 Mar 02 | South Asia
15 Mar 02 | South Asia
25 Feb 02 | South Asia
07 Jan 02 | South Asia
01 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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